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Investigating Liliana’s experience with racism and discrimination can help a therapist understand how she seeks help for her problems. Liliana’s family who emigrated from Mexico most likely experienced racism and discrimination. In order to succeed despite these obstacles, Liliana had to actively work to rise above these environmental factors. Her experience with bigotry and other forms of discrimination shaped how Liliana views herself and her environment. For example, acknowledging that Liliana’s childhood from a single-parent household and the influence of her sisters as part of her worldview can show the therapist how Liliana thinks and sees the world around her.
The fact that her own grandmother refused to acknowledge her younger sibling who had an African-American father shows the pain and divide that Liliana experienced on a personal level. Family obligations and pressures could have also forced her to leave the university her sophomore year. Liliana’s cultural identity and values may conflict at times to the values of mainstream U.
One of the values that is apparent in Liliana’s case is the value of collectivism and the high value placed on interdependence in a family unit. Her experience of poverty also has shaped her values and possibly prompted her to change her situation. This resiliency despite economic disadvantage can shape Liliana’s microsystem or the interaction between her environment and individual actors such as school and work. According to researchers, Latino families place a high value on family because it is the social fabric that brings everyone together during difficult times.
This high value on family, or familismo, led not just only to a greater bond, but also to better mental health because of the support structures in the Latino family (Piña-Watson, B., Gonzalez, I., & Manzo. G. 2019) While experiencing poverty, discrimination, and racism, Liliana has still managed to obtain success in raising a family and working for a successful tech company. It is perhaps this value of familismo that has helped Liliana rather than reaching out to mental health specialists. It is through these difficulties that perhaps Liliana developed her sense of humor that has shaped her resilient outlook on life. Understanding this cultural fabric will help the counselor see the worldview of Liliana and how to best address her needs. Knowing Liliana’s cultural identity and emphasis on family can provide the therapist with a better framework in helping Liliana.
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